IPL 2019: Royal Challengers Bangalore eye first win as they face resurgent Sunrisers Hyderabad

Aditya Devavrat 17:18 30/03/2019
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Virat Kohli was left frustrated at the end of RCB's previous game.

Sunrisers Hyderabad‘s remarkable win on Friday against Rajasthan Royals will have given them a huge boost of confidence after the way they lost a winnable game in their IPL 2019 opener.

Chasing 199 to win, Sunrisers turned a tough target into a cruise, getting the win with an over to spare thanks to a typically destructive innings from David Warner at the top, and good support knocks from Jonny Bairstow and Vijay Shankar, who is enjoying batting at No4 so far this season.

Royal Challengers Bangalore had no such luck in their own second game of the season, with an umpiring controversy surrounding a missed no-ball in the last ball of their chase against Mumbai Indians on Thursday depriving them of a possible win. It was at least an improvement on their debacle from their first game, when they were bowled out for 70 against Chennai Super Kings.

RCB won’t often lose games when Virat Kohli scores 46 off 32 and AB de Villiers makes an unbeaten, 41-ball 70 – indeed, they’d never before failed in a chase where De Villiers had been unbeaten – but the rest of the batting line-up needs to offer more support. Parthiv Patel has been in decent form at the top of the order but so far, marquee players like Moeen Ali and Shimron Hetmeyer have failed to fire.

They may find joy in Sunday’s game for an unexpected reason: death bowling, so often a strength for Sunrisers, has been a cause for concern in their first two games. Having failed to defend 52 from the last three overs in the first game against Kolkata Knight Riders, running into a rampaging Andre Russell, they followed that up by conceding 76 off the last five against Rajasthan – 58 off the last three.

The biggest worry is the form of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Having established himself as one of the world’s best death bowlers, he’s conceded 72 runs in four overs at the death this season. Perhaps Sunrisers should consider bowling him out early in the innings until he sorts out his death-overs issues – his numbers during the powerplay are four overs for 20 runs, though still no wickets.

And on Sunday, that strategy could pay off double. If he gets an early wicket, it brings Kohli to the pitch early, and sets up a tantalising battle between India internationals.

For his part, Kohli will just be hoping he has no reason to compare IPL to club cricket again.

LIKELY XI

Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Vijay Shankar, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Siddharth Kaul

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Parthiv Patel (wk), Moeen Ali, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmeyer, Colin de Grandhomme, Shivam Dube, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj

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